Mumbai, March 13: A day after Arvind Kejriwal visited Mumbai, the AAP Thursday pointed fingers at police and media alleging mismanagement, chaos, damage to public property and misreporting.
In a statement, the state unit of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said the volunteers had planned a flawless exit from the airport and entry into the suburban train for Kejriwal, “which got totally derailed due to the media frenzy which police were ill-prepared to control”.
“We are afraid that the media zeal (in pursuit of exclusive visuals) led to a total breakdown of law and order… Media clambered all over Arvind Kejriwal at the airport, making police cordon off Kejriwal and lead him in the wrong direction,” the statement said.
On the alleged overloading of the auto-rickshaw in which Kejriwal commuted, the AAP statement said a party volunteer hopped into the auto to ward off cameras for safety. Media persons risked their own safety and that of others to get bytes from him, inviting accident, it added.
The statement also denied that Kejriwal jumped a traffic signal. The AAP blamed police for the incident and said there was no personnel to clear the chasing cameras and though Kejriwal’s auto stopped at the traffic signal, police forced it to move forward.
About the charge that Kejriwal or the AAP did not take due permission for his roadshow, the statement said: “This (commute from the airport to Churchgate railway station) was no road show or event. The misreporting that we broke some law in this journey is malicious, to the say the least.”
The AAP pointed a finger at police for isolating Kejriwal at the Andheri railway station, and forcing him to enter through a wrong entrance, while party volunteers were waiting for him at another entrance with full preparation to ensure that normal Mumbai commuters were not affected.
“This led to complete mayhem as there weren’t enough police to handle the craze that set off on seeing Kejriwal, many people tried to reach out to shake hands, wish him… And the situation became quite chaotic.”
Alleging misreporting on the issue of damage to scanners at Churchgate, the party said that “defunct scanners fell due to the media frenzy and surging supporters… They were down for a few minutes and immediately put back in place by our volunteers and no damage was caused”.
“AAP is really curious as to what levies will Home Minister (R.R. Patil) extract from the AAP for a momentary collapse of defunct scanners when he has failed to extract any levy from parties which burn and damage public property on a routine basis,” the party said.
“We state that whatever little disturbances that were caused during Kejriwal’s visit, were due to poor handling of law and order, of the overzealous media, who risked public safety in their quest for visuals,” it added.